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By Chris Oddo | Saturday March 30, 2019


The last two Miami Open champions will battle to become the first men’s singles champion at the tournament’s new venue at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, as Roger Federer and John Isner lock horns for the eighth time.

Here are five storylines and a few quotes to get you primed for the final...


Fed Ain’t Dead

Roger Federer simply never ceases to amaze. As he approaches his 38th birthday the Swiss isn’t just still relevant on the ATP Tour—he has been the tour’s best player since the Australian Open. After winning his 100th career title in February at Dubai, Federer has continued to play well. He reached the final at Indian Wells and here at Miami he’s won his last ten sets after dropping his first set of the week to Radu Albot in the second round.

Isner’s Rolling in Miami

Federer will have to be good to get this title, because John Isner has been nothing short of incredible this week in Miami. The American entered the week with a 7-10 record in tiebreakers but he has now won nine straight through five rounds.

Isner owns an 11-match winning streak in Miami and has won 12 of 13 his tiebreakers at the Miami Open since he started that run at Crandon Park last season.

Age is Just a Number

With a combined age of 70, Sunday’s final will be the oldest ATP men’s singles final in Miami Open history.


Fifty is Nifty

Federer will contest his 50th Masters 1000 final and bid for his 28th title (27-22) at the Masters level. Sunday’s final will be Federer’s 154th final overall (100-53). Federer is 17-2 on the season and 1-1 in finals.

Isner is playing his fifth Masters 1000 title and his 27th ATP final. He owns a 2-5 record against Federer lifetime with both wins coming indoors. Isner took the pair’s last meeting in 2015 at the Paris Masters. Federer defeated Isner in the pair’s only previous meeting in a final at Indian Wells in 2012.

19 and Counting

19 tournaments have come and gone on the ATP Tour this season, and still we have yet to see a player win multiple titles. Federer will bid to become the ATP's first multiple title winner in 2019--Isner will bid to become the 20th different title winner this season.

**On the WTA side Ash Barty became the WTA Tour's 14th winner in 14 2019 events on Saturday with her win over Karolina Pliskova.**

What they’re Saying

Here’s Federer on what it takes to return well against Isner:

“No. 1, you want to connect. Secondly you want to get in a neutral position, which is very difficult, because you know he's looking for his forehand or he looks to come in or try to take charge of the point. Yeah, it's tough. Then you just hope that sort of the stars align, that you pick the right side, that he picks the wrong side, that maybe he misses a serve, that you can put him in uncomfortable situations time and time again, and at the end somehow you find a way. Yeah. He's definitely got one of the serves you can basically not read. It's that simple.”


Here’s Isner on dealing with Federer’s chip return of serve:

“It's something that he can do in his sleep. He just gets it down low and gets it short. He almost forces his opponent to come in. At that point, you have to hit a great approach shot and a good volley to win the point, because he's going to have a look at a pass if you make the shot, and it's very difficult to do. If I do play him, maybe there are some things tactically, especially on second serves, that I'll try to avoid maybe. Not go into his backhand as much. But he can do that, as I said, in his sleep. It's an incredibly high-talent shot that not many players can do, but he can do it all the time.”

 

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